Private schools in the Coastal Empire prepare for back-to-school in the age of COVID-19

Back To School

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – As public schools prepare for students to return using state and district regulations, private schools have had to take a different approach at crafting reopening plans.

WSAV.com NOW spoke to two private schools in Savannah, Calvary Day School and St. Andrew’s School, to learn how they’re preparing for school in the era of COVID-19.

In general, school officials say they’ve been working over the last few months to develop plans around two main areas: spacing and sanitation.

Using input from school staff, parents, janitorial staff and healthcare professionals, administrators say they’re ready to start the next academic year.

They did acknowledge, however, that their sanitation and spacing plans will change as more is learned about the virus.

Both schools, set to reopen on Aug. 13, say they feel prepared to welcome students back on their respective campuses.

Calvary Day School

Calvary Day School announced an update to their parents in the middle of July about reopening plans as students head back to school.

School administrators say they crafted specific plans that would work best for different age groups.

Joseph Almeida, the Head of the Lower School, said younger children present a challenge because they’re always touching surfaces and each other.

“Most concerns, you have parents all over the spectrum and everybody’s kind of feeling a different way about it. And our goal is to find what’s safe for our kids,” said Almeida.

He said they’re going to incorporate lessons proper sanitation practices, like handwashing, for younger students.

Head of Upper School Doug Pesce says the cleanliness of students, as well as the facilities as a whole, were addressed during their reopening task force meetings.

He says students will clean their areas between classes and janitorial staff will clean high-touch surfaces during class.

“We feel pretty good about exceeding the CDC guidelines on how we’re keeping all the key things that students will come into contact with regularly as clean as we possibly can,” said Pesce.

Read the school’s full reopening announcement here.

St. Andrew’s School

Home of the Lions, St. Andrews has announced multiple scenarios for reopening schools and released it to parents.

Head of Schools Dr. Kelley Waldron says administrators have been discussing plans since April about how to properly reopen for this next academic year.

“We did a space analysis of every single room on campus to make sure that we could give students six feet of physical distance within those spaces,” said Dr. Waldron.

Dr. Waldron says they’ve tried to incorporate parents’ input when crafting their reopening plans and, so far, they’re optimistic about the school’s approach.

“We’ve done sessions with our parents to help provide that clarity and we’ll continue to do that,” she said. “But largely, it’s just been supportive and grateful that we’ve taken the time to plan ahead.”

Students will be required to wear face coverings while indoors on campus.

For more information, head over to the school’s website.

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